It has been a frenzy; this last few weeks; the preparations, the fever pitch of heightened expectation and the exhaustion of getting through this long drawn out term.
We began with a birthday at the beginning of December not any old birthday. No 1 son became an adult when he finally reached 18. I say finally it was for him. For Sexy Sporty Dad and me it seems only a moment ago that our tiny little baby arrived, crying, cuddly and the centre of attention. Maybe not so much has changed.
The plans had taken months of discussion and careful scrutiny by us not him, to decide and in the end it was a last minute thing nearly marred by the school having their parents evening on that very day. The “inbetweeners” lads holiday to Ibiza or Ayia Napa was discussed but the middle of December does not have the same sunny ring to it. We looked into a party but the cost of hosting it was prohibitive as the venue of choice was No 1 Son’s work place. I had a plan to work around if he was set on that. However the amount of people needed to fill the venue was more than he knew and even with my combined suggestion all the friends joined, together still would not have enough family and friends to fill it.
Late on in the year he decided on a meal but the whereabouts changed by the week until he announced a month before his birthday that he would just like to go to the pub with a couple of friends. The choice of bar was difficult to choose, he wasn’t used to arranging for his friends to do things so the week of his birthday he told us he would leave it and just have a drink at home with a nice meal.
I arranged a meal out with family and his close friends where he and his friends could enjoy the freedom of ordering alcohol from the bar. A simple gesture but it opened a world of independence for them. They began sampling beers, a few differing varieties. Trying names rather than tastes, in a few months with a few sore heads firmly tucked in their belts they will find their own tastes.
A wonderful meal came with bottles of wine as part of the deal. By this stage the boys were relaxed enough to make sure they shared the bottles on their table, all sampling the delights of both red and white.
Only once did I venture the information that you should really only stick to one drink be it wine or beer but not mix grape and grain. A lesson to be learnt in the future I feel. They were uninterested and past any sense of caring.
After the meal and the ceremonial cutting of the cake No 1 Son made his first eloquent speech. Put slightly on the spot he rose to the occasion well and preceded his friend Stuart who we were also celebrating with.
The boys returned to the bar to try the next concoction on their “to try list”. They bought rounds between them with the level of hilarity rising. Middle son sat brooding in the corner not so content to be bought diet coke or lemonade by us while the older boys drank becoming louder and more uninhibited.
I being designated driver began my first of many trips to drop off guests returning after the last trip to find the final hardened group of 18 year olds pints in hand and waiting for the jager bomb experience they had been promised by the bar staff. They no longer drink the Bacardi or Malibu with coke, or a simple mix of cinzano & lemonade I remember from my late teens, kids these days seem to sample a much more scientific cocktail. Now they enjoy a lethal cocktail of high energy drink with a shot glass of Jagermeister dropped into the larger glass. I do mean dropped. There are the theatrics and whole drama as you drop the tiny shot glass into your half full pint glass. Then you knock it back in one.
A rush of sensations crash into the body as the caffeine of the energy drink explodes over the eruption of the hot fiery jager liquid in a volcanic upsurge
of contradictory waves of feel good and alcoholic depression.
I managed to load my car one final time with those boys coming home with us and some being dropped on the way.
For No 1 Son the day had been a very long one. A few of us also had spent many hours rushing to get the whole day perfect. As his birthday finished and the new one began I was awakened by the hilarity still continuing downstairs. I came down and found them in a resurrection of heightened emotion enjoying yet another bottle of wine, a present from someone. I firmly suggested water and sent them to bed.
The following morning it was Middle Son rising early full of beans while a dribble of sore heads appeared not so sure the freedom of buying alcohol was such a great idea. The lack of funds left in their wallets was also a stark reminder that although they may be old enough to drink they need to be able to afford it and learn to control it and not mix.
I am glad that No 1 Son allowed Sexy Sporty Dad and I to be at his adult initiation ceremony, where we could give him the freedom but still watch over his exploration into being a grown up. I hope this is not a template for the future but a celebratory step along the way to being a responsible adult. Maybe he is not so independent yet as he may think and I will still have a part to play in his world for a while longer.
Have a look at what I am up to with my food blog at Tea Time Treats